Friday, June 1

Review: Enigmatis 2 - The Mists of Ravenwood [Nintendo Switch eShop]


Probably one of my favorite types of games that I’ve played on tablets are hidden object games. The thing is, over the past handful of years the genre has really evolved into something much more, and that’s been what has made me a fan. Morphing over time into a sort of mix of hidden objects, point-and-click adventure, and a handful of inventive puzzles they deliver a far more varied experience than you’d expect if you haven’t dabbled in the better ones for a while. Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood does an excellent job of representing what the genre is capable of being, and for people seeking a casual experience on Switch it is an excellent choice.


In no time at all you’ll be thrown into the action, arriving at the scene of what appears to be either a crash or some sort of attack. Even if you’re new to these games the opening sequences do an excellent job of demonstrating many of the elements and styles of play you’ll encounter through the course of solving the mysteries involved in this place. You find a young girl who is scared and has lost her parents, but in order to get her to come out you’ll need to find something to help her calm down. Looking around you’ll see a teddy bear that’s gotten pretty beaten up but once you find some essential tools for repairing and cleaning him up you’re able to get her to come out of hiding. Unfortunately, just as you begin to earn her trust everything goes to hell.


Unlike the older games in the genre where you’d simply go between very static screens of artwork and look for a variety of items over time these games have turned it into a somewhat more dynamic experience. While there will still be some straight up objects to find there are often sequences involving a combination of elements you’ll need to discover in order to trigger others. This helps to change up the formula and keeps things a bit more fresh. The more traditional adventure elements usually involve needing to investigate anything that’s suspicious (you’re often aided by key spots glittering every once in a while and the hint system is very helpful, almost too much so at times), collecting items, and then looking for the appropriate ways to make use of them. There are times where what seems to be a simple solution to a problem with an object should be possible, but you’ll instead have to attack it more elaborately, though for the most part things are at least intuitive. Then there are the pretty varied puzzles you’ll need to solve, which are usually my favorite part of the game. They’re rarely terribly hard but for the most part I’ve always found them satisfying and different.


In terms of what doesn’t work as well though the production values behind the attempts to push the narrative in these games has improved over time they’re still a bit on the dated side. Brief video sequences help convey the action but with it trying to remain consistent with the static art style some of it can look a bit sloppy. That said the art as a whole throughout is excellent and generally clear whether in docked or handheld mode, with elements usually colorful and having a fair amount of contrast so they’re easier to make out. There are times when it isn’t quite clear what you’re missing or should do next and that’s where the generous help system kicks in. Unfortunately it doesn’t so much give you hints as outright tell you where to go or roughly what to do next but your hints recharge pretty quickly so when you’re at a loss for what to do it tends to be very helpful.


If you’re a fan of this type of game Enigmatis 2 is a pretty fantastic playthrough, full of some mystery, great puzzles, and interesting enough characters. If you’ve never really dabbled in this genre before but either enjoy casual puzzlers or a good adventure I’d also wager you should have a great time with it if you give it a chance to get rolling so you’ll see how it all works together. This has me very much looking forward to more from this genre showing up on the Switch, it should give me a chance to catch back up with a genre I’d thought I’d given up when I left my tablet behind for gaming. I’d consider it just shy of a must-play for puzzle fans of any flavor.

Score: 8.5

Pros:
  • Uniformly excellent puzzles
  • A compelling mystery to solve
  • Whenever you get stuck the hint system is very helpful

Cons:
  • Some of the production values feel a bit dated
  • As with most adventure games what you need to do or combine to progress isn’t always clear